Gardening group Forthspring has a beautiful community garden at the back of the building. The garden is a fantastic resource for all the projects within Forthspring, in particular since Covid-19 has made outdoor activity much safer than indoor activity.
The garden is managed entirely by a group of committed volunteers who meet every Tuesday - rain, hail or snow, to look after this important resource (they have not met since lockdown). Gardening has many benefits including enhanced well-being, improved dexterity, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improved relaxation and satisfaction. It also provides social entertainment for those gardening in groups.
With funding from the National Lottery Covid Emergency Fund, Forthspring has received funding for the garden to be landscaped and adapted for much more regular use by Forthspring user groups and projects, allowing the organisation to adapt to both restrictions and opportunities caused by Covid-19 and to comply with relevant legislation. The gardeners will be key to this development.
Good community garden practice and permaculture principles will be embedded in the process of developing a new garden (e.g. growing food for the local community, using and valuing local resources, producing no waste and encouraging wild areas). Springers will deliver a gardening programme as part of the process, teaching about sustainable living, plants, herbs, seeds and elements necessary for plants to grow.
Youth Matters is exploring running sessions in Forthspring garden to facilitate young people physically coming together safely. MUMO ran its 2020 Summer Scheme in the garden when it was dry.
With a little bit of investment, the Forthspring garden could become an important outdoor resource for the Clonard/Woodvale areas, playing an important role in local biodiversity. The gardener’s group is key to this process.